We tend to take many things for granted: the people around us or the opportunities with which we are presented, all because we truly don’t realize what we have until they’re gone.
This rings true for our education as well. Despite all we do to complain, there are many people who really do look back on high school as the “best four years of their lives.” We are told to cherish these years while we still can, as the “real world” is a much scarier place than the small community we are used to.
From grade 9, all the way up until grade 12, high school provides us with many experiences that influence who we become. Not only do we grow as people, but we also mature into entirely different people. I know I’m not the same grade 9 student who walked through the Hazel Street doors on the first day of Grade 9.
The change you experience throughout high school is inevitable, but I still wanted to know more. I decided to ask ten grade 12 students about their lives in grade 9, and more specifically, to answer the following question: “If you could speak to your grade 9 self, what would you say?” What follows is a variety of different answers, all of which I found enlightening.
“I would tell myself to participate in more sports and clubs early on. Grade 9 and 10 are easy academically so I definitely wish I had gotten involved more.”
“ I would advise myself to get my act together and focus on my school work. You think it doesn’t matter now, but it will in the long run.”
”I would say to my grade 9 self to never be afraid to speak my mind, or be intimidated into silence. I would also remind myself to not stress over the things that seem so small and unimportant now.”
“To be honest, I never took school seriously in grade 9 and 10, so I would probably tell myself to develop better habits for the future.”
“I’d probably say that the stress you feel now is nothing compared to the stress in grade 12. Also, don’t be scared to audition for Concept in grade 9… being in the show is better than being an usher.”
“I should have gone to more events like Fast for Freedom and Relay for Life. School spirit never really mattered to me until I became a senior and began to get more involved.”
“I wish I got more into the arts and ABCD and was more interactive with the school other than sports and volunteering. I also wish I did more university courses to put me on the greater path for my future.”
“I wish I’d made the push to be on ABCD… I wish I’d done more stuff within the school so that I could have an impact on the high school experiences of others.”
“I think I would tell my Grade 9 self to go talk to new people! For most of Grade 9, I stuck with my senior school friends all the time, so I didn’t get to really meet and get to know all of the awesome people from other schools that I now do!”
“I really wish that I had started football in Grade 9. At the time I didn’t realize how much sports meant to me, but now that I play on so many teams I have realized.”
It was fascinating to see how students change over time, and how their interests at the beginning of high school may be completely different by the end.
Although each answer was unique in its own way, there was one thing all responses had in common: involvement. Whether it be academics, the arts or athletics, getting involved in what you are passionate about is guaranteed to make high school a better experience. If you love helping others, why not join Relay for Life to raise money for the Cancer Society, or fast for a day to raise money for refugees.
After all, there needs to be something to keep students sane through the academic pressures of the year!